Holiday Toys Kids Love and Insurers Hate

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Could popular children's toys impact your homeowners insurance? Find out what insurance agents have to say.

Some toys that Santa places under your Christmas tree may prompt a quick visit with your insurance agent once they come out of the box, or before if Santa gives you a heads up.

Look critically at the toys your kids receive — and whether they might cause someone an injury. As a starting point, check out the little trampoline, Kick Flipper wheelless skateboard and other products named by W.A.T.C.H. (World Against Toys Causing Harm) in their 10 Worst Toys for 2015.

If you have toys that raise questions, talk to your insurer so they can check your policy’s coverage.

Some toys, like backyard trampolines, are hazardous enough that they are not covered by some homeowners insurance policies.

Simply owning potentially dangerous toys, however, won’t cause your home insurance rates to spike, according to CNBC

“Your rates don’t go up for having [dangerous toys] in your household but you may lose eligibility [for coverage],” Eric Kollevoll, owner of insurance agency Kollevoll & Associates of Pennington, New Jersey, told CNBC.

Liability is a concern when your child’s friends are visiting.

“When friends play on that equipment, there’s a big area of liability,” Kollevoll explained.

Although your home insurance policy would likely cover injuries that take place at your house, if the injury is serious and escalates to litigation, your liability coverage may not be sufficient, insurance experts warned CNBC.

“If you have a lot of toys where people can get injured, get as much no-fault medical as you can, and you probably want to get more liability coverage,” cautioned Jeanne Salvatore, senior vice president of the Insurance Information Institute.

“You need to have enough liability protection to protect your assets, and it’s relatively inexpensive,” Salvatore said. For another $200-$300 a year, you can purchase an additional $1 million in excess liability protection, she suggested.

Insurance experts urge checking your policy and putting in place coverage changes early, before your child or one of their friends gets hurt.

“If your house is party central and your kids have their friends over often, make sure you have additional liability protection just in case somebody gets hurt,” Salvatore told CNBC, “because stuff does happen.”

My daughter and my friend’s two children were jumping on an old trampoline at a baby sitter’s house this past summer. My friend’s son fell off the trampoline, which did not have the safety net enclosure, and broke his arm. She didn’t sue the baby sitter’s family, but I suppose that’s a route some people would go.

Do you have extra insurance coverage just in case someone gets hurt playing on one of your kids’ toys or at your house? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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